By Stefanie Kleinburd, Women’s Menstrual Health & Fertility Coach at stefaniekleinburd.com.
After three years without a period in my early 20’s, I learned how to enjoy and embrace my body and her cycles throughout each month. That mindset shift was crucial to restoring my menstrual cycle and fertility.
Since then, I’ve committed to three powerful rituals every time my period comes around, and I’d like to share them with you.
I’ll never forget that one night years ago when I was training for my first triathlon and forced myself to go to the gym even though it was the last thing my body felt like doing. At that point in my training I was running at a fast pace for a full hour with some sprints thrown in. That night, though, I had my period. Ten minutes into my run I was dragging. I couldn’t keep up with my usual speed and by twenty minutes I was so frustrated that I gave in and jumped off.
I left the gym and beat myself up all the to the West Side Market where I picked up a peanut butter cup cheesecake then went home to drown my sorrows in sweet stuff.
Month after month, it was the same. Every time I tried to push through my period, I’d end up feeling bad about myself then turn to some self-sabotaging behavior to feel better.
Overtime, pushing my body past its limits, I wore out my adrenals and lost my period all together. Fortunately, on my way to healing I came to understand that, different from a man’s body, a woman’s hormones change throughout the month and thus so should the demands we put on our lovely bodies.
During our period, our body needs to rest more. To restore.
Making it happen: Allow yourself to say no to favors and invitations. Take something(s) off of your to-do list. Work from home, wrapped up in your favorite cozy blanket. Trade power yoga for restorative yoga. Meditate. This body-loving meditation helps you tune into and love your body up.
While our physical energy is typically lowest on the days we menstruate, our connection to our intuition and feelings is strongest.
Yes, extreme changes in your mood should absolutely be brought up to your doctor. But, feeling a little bit more emotional- more likely to cry at the news, yell when your roommate forgets to refill the toilet paper, and overall feel less tolerant of the things that you don’t love about your job/lover/life right now– is normal.
Instead of just blaming it on your hormones, as tempting as it is, I invite you to dive in.
This is your body and soul speaking. Or, at this time of the month, more like yelling;)
Listening to and exploring instead of ignoring my emotions during my period has saved me from going further down a not-so-feel-good-road, time and time again. I’d love to save you from going there, too.
Making it happen: Take some time to sit down with your journal and reflect. Light some candles, play some music and make a beautiful ritual of it. Freeform write about what you’re feeling. Or ask yourself questions like: What’s feeling good in my life right now? What’s not? What can I do differently next month?
Indulge in a new way.
I used to consider a day on my period one big cheat day. Now, I know that what my body really needs when I’m menstruating is high-quality, nutrient-dense food.
Intuitively, that does makes more sense;) Our body is working hard to shed our uterine lining and losing nutrients as we bleed.
At this time of month, especially, we want to emphasize:
Leafy green vegetables, beets, beans, egg yolks, whole grains, grass-fed beef and lamb, organic chicken livers, fatty fish like sardines and, in moderation, blackstrap molasses, dark chocolate and dried fruits, such as apricots, dates and raisins.
We also want to keep it warm. Stews, soups and sipping on broth and herbal tea all help to keep blood flowing.
The more real foods we feed our body, throughout the month and during our periods, the better we’ll feel overall.
Making it happen: Make it a point to prepare or purchase good-for-your-period meals and snacks before you start menstruating. Choose a variety of foods you enjoy from the list above. No matter what, be gentle with yourself – beating yourself up about what you did or didn’t eat completely contradicts the feel-good feeling we’re going for.
So, darling, your period can be your time to restore, reflect and indulge in feel-good foods. Imagine?
That can make all the difference in your life and health.
Tell us in the comments: what would you like to do differently next time your period comes around?